10 Totally Catchy Songs By Some Guy You've Never H
Bob Pittman: Prince meets Buddy Holly. Liz Phair meets ELO. Just how do you describe this one of a kind iconic innovative unprecedented prototypical autochthonal artist? Handsome, sensual, sexy? Smart, shrewd, ingenious? Congenial, affectionate, wholehearted? Coy, modest, humble? Vigorous, compelling, courageous? Foreboding, perilous, controversial? Any way you slice it, one thing is certain. Bob Pittman is bitchin'. Born amid the biggest blizzard in Chicago history, Bob Pittman was delivered by his own father on the bar of the infamous Woodlawn Tavern on Chicago's dangerous south side after the car his father was driving with his hysterical mother moaning in the back seat on the way to the hospital careened out of control before plowing into a sixteen foot snowdrift dangerously close to the edge of a twenty foot drop into the raging abyss of the churning frigid waters of an angry Lake Michigan. The mulatto son of a white Wisconsin farm girl and a black Chicago numbers runner, Bob Pittman grew up fast on Chicago's badass back streets and alleys during the rough and tumble 60's. Constantly harassed for not being black enough by the warring gangs, the Disciples and the Blackstone Rangers, poor little Bobby, "Oreo" they taunted, was shaken down for spare change and beaten senseless on a routine basis. And then when he wandered past the arbitrary borders that separated black from white in America's most segregated city this wretched child was once again accosted. Now as the sons of Irish and Polish immigrants pummeled him he was dubbed "Sambo," as he was beaten and battered into a buttery bloody pulp. Fun fact: From 1960 until 1974 Bob Pittman was mugged (robbed, beaten, hit by rocks, sticks, cans, bottles or other thrown objects, stabbed, shot at, or shot) 123 times! Bob Pittman's only solace during these tumultuous times was the wondrous music emanating from his AM radio. Rickey Nelson, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Supremes, the Beach Boys, the Four Tops - They were his friends, his mentors, the shining light guiding him out of the shameful misery of his existentialist condition. It was listening to these artists that he learned not only his musical chops, but valuable life lessons that enabled him to overcome the nearly insurmountable obstacles that had been piled before him. Bob learned that he did not have to stay put, that he could "get around" and become a "travelin' man." He learned "all you need is love" and that if he stopped in love's name, hearts would not be broken. He gradually learned that if he "reached out" someone would be there and that this was indeed a "wonderful world." And finally, though "Midwest farmers' daughters really make you feel all right," at the age of twenty-one, with his guitar on his back, he stuck his thumb out, and headed for the sun and surf of California, "the promised land," "where the girls all get so tanned." Bob Pittman arrived in San Francisco during the height of Punk Rock mania and immediately felt at home among the lost and abandoned outcast and forsaken youth of that generation. Dubbed, 'Bob Pitiful' by nefarious punk promoter and manager of San Francisco's punk palace Mabuhay Gardens, Dirk Dirksen, Bob enjoyed a brief stint as a solo artist before meeting fellow punk and now well known rock historian, Blair Miller, and forming San Francisco's influential new wave band, the Delusions. This well respected band remembered primarily for it's searing run of performances as the house band at Mabuhay Gardens' short-lived offshoot, Aldo's featured crisp songwriting as the dual frontmen, Pittman and Miller, tried to out do each other at every turn. Ultimately the two headed beast could not be contained and infighting between the two leaders resulted in the beleaguered band's untimely demise in early 1981. Unfortunately all known copies of the only publicly released recording of the Delusions, the double hit single 'Do You Wanna Be My Girl/Acid Rain," have been lost. Bob Pittman's next band, the critically acclaimed Good Samaritans, had two remarkable incarnations. First there was the punk cabaret noise band originally the brainchild of the charismatic guitar god, Dan Houser. This incarnation of the band featured Houser on lead guitar, his girlfriend the beautiful and edgy vocalist Pat Costa, legendary Saxophonist and vocalist Darvin Bowen, rock solid bassist John Anderson, former Delusions drummer Mark Berndt, and Bob Pittman, second guitarist and vocalist. This band was known for it's outrageous stage shows that were as much performance art as musical event. If the Delusions had it's problems with it's twin fronts, imagine early Good Samaritans with the temperamental dangerous and egocentric Houser, the diminutive dynamo Costa, the uncontainable Bowen, and Pittman all clamoring for more time front and center. Not unexpectedly this first incarnation of the Good Samaritans came to an end one night at the Mabuhay Gardens when, after fans rushed the stage during an encore performance of the band's instrumental classic, 'Nightmare's Theme,' Houser went berserk putting five of those fans in the hospital, nearly beheading one after strangling the unfortunate fellow with a string from his smashed guitar. Neither Costa nor Houser ever performed publicly again. With Costa and Houser now out of the band and bassist John Anderson replaced with funk thumper Kim Anderson, the second incarnation, the crowd pleasing urban soul-punk version of the Good Samaritans was born. Anchored by Kim Anderson's booming funk riffs, Mark Berndt's driving backbeat, and the rhythmic crunch guitar chops that Bob Pittman pried loose from roots in the heart of Chicago's south side, singer Darvin Bowen unleashed a fury and a style that combined the intensity of James Brown with the passion of Otis Redding and saxophonist Bowen released a wail reminiscent of Clarence Clemons and a squawk reminiscent of John Coltrane. In 1981 the band performed a string of concerts at the nightclub the Sound of Music in the middle of San Francisco's Tenderloin district that it put the club on the map. The band developed a following so intense that it was temporarily blacklisted from renowned college radio station KUSF when, after a concert one night, a hoard of Good Samaritan fans spray painted the band's name on nearly every building of the University of San Francisco campus. The Good Samaritans permanently disbanded after two years when tensions over the solo projects of Bowen and Pittman reached a boil. One hot summer night in 1983 Bowen and Anderson had just finished a solo gig at the San Francisco south of market club the Stud, when Pittman and freelance drummer Jonathan Keenan stormed the stage demanding the return of Pittman's Roland TR-808 drum machine. Tempers flared and fists began to fly. The battle escalated substantially in the alley outside of the club when bottles were broken and knives were drawn. Pittman's ear was partially severed and Bowen lost two pints of blood. Though apologies were made in the emergency room of San Francisco General Hospital, Pittman and Bowen have not spoken since. The only official release of the Good Samaritans was the 45rpm single, "Nightmare's Theme/The Dotted Line" from the group's original lineup. It was the first release on Dan Houser's and Paul Dawson's illustrious Fowl Records label. In 1984 Bob Pittman released his only solo recording from that era. The Fowl Records 45rpm single, "Wanderer/I Just Do," while not well received in the United States, garnered extensive airplay in Europe where it charted on numerous radio stations. Though poised and ready for worldwide acclaim, Bob Pittman's European tour was cancelled with his wife's unexpected pregnancy and the subsequent birth of his only son. After the birth of his son, Travis, Bob Pittman then vowed he would continue his music career after his son learned to walk. Having learned the lessons of his own tumultuous childhood Bob did not want to abandon Travis, but, unfortunately for music fans everywhere, it turns out Travis was a little slow. It took him twenty-four years, but now, finally, Travis is walking. And so the wait is over. Here it is. 10 Totally Catchy Songs By Some Guy You've Never Heard Of! Songs of sex. Songs of love. Songs of existential life in working class suburbia. From the bombastic opener "A Million Plus X" to the working class blues of "Sorry Charlie" and "Waiting For My Ship To Come In" to the lilting new age ballad "Except When She's Hungry" to the raucous toe tapping smart rockabilly closer "Foolin' Around," every song is a classic. By a class act. Two thumbs up. Check it out! Paul Simon meets the New Pornographers. Richard Hawley meets Moby. 10 Totally Catchy Songs By Some Guy You've Never Heard Of! Eleven original musical gems sprung like geysers from the infinite creative well that is the foundation of Bob Pittman's special talent.